Yesterday, I took a roadtrip to Pufpaff's Fiber Mill in Michigan with three of my knitting friends. It was a chilly but nice day for a drive. The change of scene was good even if the fall colors weren't as bright as usual.
We took a break in Kalamazoo for lunch at Erbelli's Pizza & Italian Kitchen. This local restaurant gets good reviews online. They deserve it, their buffet lunch was sensational! The sauce they use is the best I've ever eaten. I'll definitely go back there sometime. The dining room is small so get there early if you want a seat.
The purpose of our trip was to pick up some fiber that had been processed at the mill. We also got to visit the sheep, llamas, and alpacas that Suzanne raises. She threw out some food and they all came running. One of the Shetland sheep had the crimpiest fleece I've ever seen. Here's a picture of some of the huge pumpkins in her garden.
We took a tour of this small mill and got a lesson in making felt by hand. This picture shows some how you layer the design on the base batt before felting it. Each of us went home with a finished felted piece. Part way through the lesson, someone came in to tell us that the sheep and alpacas had gotten out. All of us went outside to herd them back down the road to their pen. Then we walked back to the mill to finish our projects and shop for fiber and patterns.
Here are a few pictures of the carding machine. There is less than one pound of merino on the belt going in the back of the machine. This shows it is coming out the front carded into a cloud. I wanted to get a close up to show it's gathered together under the wheel and then twisted into roving. I didn't take a picture of where it falls into a waiting plastic bag. I was lucky enough to bring 8 ounces of this beautiful, fresh roving home with me. :-)
Suzanne showed us her home that has felted wool curtains and crocheted wool rugs on the floor. The curtains are wool felted to a fabric base. She shared with us how to crochet the rugs using roving instead of yarn and a large crochet hook.
We stayed a lot longer than we expected. It was getting dark by the time I got home in the evening.